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New NY Tenants Laws are Helping Tenants & Causing More Hardship on Already Struggling Landlords.

If you are a renter in New York State, there are significant changes in the laws affecting tenants. The “Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019” provides important protections for renters across the State, like how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit on new leases. For families living in rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments, the laws affect how much a landlord can increase your rent. Especially important are the changes for those with preferential rents, and for those living in a manufactured home park.


However, for small landlords, these laws can cause some issues like allowing tenants to not pay rent and putting even more burden on landlords. Protecting tenants is a good thing but it's starting to make many landlords scared to even rent and many places are closing down or refusing to rent. This causes more damage, more hardship, and even more struggle for New Yorkers.

New Laws Protecting All Residential Renters

 

No More “Tenant Blacklists”

A landlord cannot deny you an apartment, rental home, or any other

type of rental based on a past legal conflict with a landlord. For example,

a landlord cannot deny you an apartment because you sued your previous

landlord to make repairs.


• If a landlord rejects your application after using a tenant screening

service (a company that landlords use to see if you have ever been

taken to court), and you have a past history of tenant-landlord

disputes, the law assumes that you were rejected because of this

history and the landlord may have to pay a fine if they cannot give

a good reason for denying you.


Making It Easier to Break a Lease

• If you leave your apartment or other rental homes before your lease

ends, your landlord has to make a good-faith effort to fill the vacancy.

If the landlord finds a new tenant, and the new tenant’s rent is equal

or higher to your rent, your lease is considered terminated, and you

are no longer liable for the rent.


You Have a Right to a Receipt

• If you pay rent in cash or money order, your landlord must provide

you with a receipt. If you pay rent by check, you may also request

a receipt. You only have to ask once. After that, your landlord has

to give you a receipt every month. Your landlord must keep proof

of cash rent receipts for 3 years.


New Protections in Case of Eviction

• If you lose a housing case and the judge orders your eviction, you can

ask the court for up to one year to move if you can show that you cannot

find a similar apartment in the same neighborhood. The judge will take into

account your health conditions, whether you have children enrolled in school,

the hardship on the landlord if you remain, and any other life circumstances

that could affect your ability to move.


• The new law strengthens protections for tenants against retaliatory

evictions and increases penalties for landlords who illegally lock

tenants out of their homes.


Your Rights in Non-Payment Evictions

• Your landlord cannot bring you to court for non-payment of rent

unless they have given you a 14-day written “rent demand.”

• Until you are evicted (i.e. the Sheriff or Marshal executes a warrant

of eviction), you can have your non-payment case dismissed if you

pay all rent that is owed.


• In a non-payment case, you can only be evicted for not paying your

rent. You cannot be evicted for non-payment of other fees (such as

late fees, legal fees, or any other “added” fee).

Capping Security Deposits

• Landlords can only charge up to one month of rent for a security deposit

or “advance payment.” This applies to all residential rentals, with a few

exceptions, whether you have a lease or not.


› This means that if you are moving into an apartment where the rent

is $1500 a month, the most your landlord can charge for a security

deposit is $1500.


› This also means that your landlord may not charge you in advance

for the last month’s rent if you are also paying a security deposit.

Limiting Late Payment Fees and Fees for Credit

and Background Checks


• A rent payment can only be considered late if it is received more than five

days after it is due.


• The most your landlord can charge as a late fee is $50 or 5%

of your monthly rent, whichever is less.


• Before signing a lease, the most a landlord can charge is $20

for a credit and background check.


• The landlord has to give you a copy of the background/credit check,

as well as an invoice from the company that performed it. Otherwise,

they can’t charge you for it.


• You can provide your own background and credit check to avoid

any fees, as long as the background/credit check was done

in the past 30 days


New Protections for Residential Renters Who Do Not Live in Rent-Stabilized or Rent-Controlled Housing

 

Making It Easier to Get Your Security Deposit Back

• Your landlord must return your security deposit within 14 days of you

moving out.

• If your landlord takes any money out of the security deposit for damages,

they must provide an itemized “receipt” describing the damage and its cost.

If your landlord doesn’t give you this receipt within 14 days of moving out, then

they must return your entire security deposit, whether there is damage or not.


• If you are planning to move out, you can ask your landlord to inspect the

apartment (or rental home or other type of home rental) before you move.

They must allow you to be present during the inspection. At that inspection,

the landlord must tell you what needs to be fixed or cleaned. You can then take

care of the problems yourself to prevent the landlord from keeping part or all

of your security deposit.


• If your landlord deliberately breaks this law, you may be entitled to up to twice

the amount of the security deposit.

Better Notice of Rent Increases and Lease Non-Renewals

• If you live in an apartment that is not rent-stabilized or controlled, there is still

no limit on how much your landlord can increase your rent. However, your

landlord must give you advanced written notice before they can raise your

rent 5% or more.


• If your landlord decides not to renew your lease, they must also give you

advance written notice. This applies to month-to-month tenants without

a lease as well.


› If you have lived in your apartment two years or more, or if you have

a two-year lease, your landlord must provide you with 90 days advance

written notice before raising your rent or not renewing your lease.


› If you have lived in your apartment for more than one year, but less than

two years, your landlord must provide you with 60 days advance notice

before raising your rent or not renewing your lease.


› If you have lived in your apartment for less than one year, or have a lease

for less than one year, your landlord must provide you with 30 days

advance notice before raising your rent or not renewing your lease.



If you would like to learn more please visit the full public document where you can find this info and much more: https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/changes-in-nys-rent-law.pdf

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